Short stack and cap game poker is getting more and more popular so it is time to discuss this issue in more details. As you have seen in an earlier article there are many advantages that a short stack player can use against deep stack players. In this article I discuss the issue of preflop aggression in short stack poker.
Once again, in the following examples I assume you have a minimum of 15 and a maximum of 30 big blinds. In the first example let’s say you have JhAh in the button at a $0.50/$1 short-handed game with $18. The cutoff raises to $3.5. It is your turn. What should you do? Of course you will play. You could even reraise in a deep stack situation as well on a short-handed table, but your decision is a lot easier with short-stack. Just push all-in! Your opponent might fold an ace with lower kicker, small pair, two high cards or a bluff. In this case you pick up his $3.5 and the blinds which is altogether $5 profit. That is more than 25% of your stack! What happens if he calls? Many times he will have the above mentioned hands and you will have the advantage. In case he has a small pair basically you are in a coin-flip situation. The only problem occurs when your opponent has a higher pair than tens or AK and AQ. These possibilities are not very common and when it happens you take your small chance.
What do you do at the same table in the same situation when you are dealt 6s6c? You do exactly the same! With such a small stack you do not risk much at all. That is one of the advantages of short-stack game. If you steal the blinds you are already making a profit, if it did not work you still have chance to win the hand. Of course this strategy does not work in deep stack situations but in short stack it is profitable.
Now I show a perfect example of short stack play from pot-limit omaha high. At a 6 handed table I was dealt 4s5s3d7d. I was the BB with a $30 stack. The blinds were $0.50/$1. The next player bet $3.5 and everyone called to me. My hand is double suited and can win big pots with the straight possibilities. It may be good in multi-way pots and in deep stack situations but my stack is relatively small and there is already $16.50 in the pot and I have only $29 left. It does not really make any sense to call. A lot better option is to push all-in and make a couple of players fold and be in a heads up situation with a player or two. In this case there is a lot of dead money in the pot already and my hand will perform well in the long run.
I pushed all-in, the next player reraised all-in, the 4th player called, the next two folded and the small blind called. The flop came: 8d4dKd. I hit the flush but who knows if it is any good. The remaining two players push all-in and I get to see everyone’s hand: Ah2sAd7s, ThJh7c8s and TsJdQsKs. This means only I had double suited hand and only I had the diamonds draw. The turn and river was the 9hQd. This means I have won the hand and collected a $127 pot! What a huge ROI!
In this example you do not have to see any deep strategy analysis. I had pure luck. I could have lost the hand the same way I won it. In this example it is not important whether I won or lost. The math and the percentages are the important parts. And of course the principle of the hand is the key. With a deep stack situation what should I have done on the flop? Most likely the pair of aces with the Ad in hand bets and with no options I fold with my small flush. And I would have never known I had the best hand. In this example I went all-in before the flop and did not have to worry anymore. I sat back and wtached what happens. I was the only player playing a double suited small cards hand which gave me huge potential. Not even considering the 2x$3.5 from the two preflop limpers who folded before the flop.
Now let’s see the mentioned percentages. Here are the four hands and the preflop chances when I pushed all-in: 4s5s3d7d: 29%, Ah2sAd7s: 20%, ThJh7c8s: 24%, TsJdQsKs: 27%. This means I was ahead of all four hands preflop. Percentages are always interesting therefore you should analyze such a situation because they might provide interesting results. On the flop the situation was the following: 4s5s3d7d: 92%, Ah2sAd7s: 2%, ThJh7c8s: 2%, TsJdQsKs: 4%. Only backdoor full house draws could have won against me however in a deep stack situation I would have folded for a bet from any of the four players. The turn card has decided everything and no one had a chance to win the hand but me.
I hope with the given examples you have improved your short stack and cap game strategy and have learned how to play preflop. In online poker you can try the above mentioned strategy right now if you wanted. I wish you good luck and even better winning rates.
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